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Poster: K-Wave Date: Jun 24, 2009 2:01pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Best eras/years/ tours for harmonies live

I'm still a bit of a newb, so apologies if this has been done before. But the Vince-->Phil thread got me to wondering

Taking everything into account--monitor gear, personnel, venue sizes, health, changing nature of the material, etc--what years are favored in this regard?

Off the top of my head, I'd have to say I like the late Donna period/early Brent, i.e. 78/79 and certainly including the acoustic shows with Brent which were 80, right. That is, before Brent's voice got so gravelly that it dominated harmony blends just by it's very nature. (I'm not sure where to put that marker exactly; anyone know when it really seemed to change and, more important, why?)

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Poster: Earl B. Powell Date: Jun 25, 2009 7:51am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Best eras/years/ tours for harmonies live

Early in the Europe 72 tour the combination of Phil, Bob and Jerry were on fire, and amazingly it was Phil taking the high harmonies. It takes a bit of listening and overcoming a lot of denial, but it's for sure Phil. Check out most any Rider during April then expand your listening.

I have a very low threshold for bad harmony singing, so I'm normally not very complimentary of Donna. Over that past few weeks there's been a number of summer '76 shows highlighted on the TDIH with some very good harmonies out of Donna. I recommend the 6-10 matrix. She's as good on this show as any other.

Another reason that Barton Hall is so sick is that Donna is at 100%.

As for Brent, the Warfield shows in 1980 are a highlight, later on in his career a little too domineering for me. I was never a fan of Healy's house mix, and find him at fault rather than Brent.

Finally, there's a few shows with both Hornsby and Vince that have some excellent harmonies. I'm not familiar with the dates, but should be easy enough to locate based on reviews.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Jun 24, 2009 2:25pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Best eras/years/ tours for harmonies live

This is why I like 70...check out any number of shows during the summer and fall for these effects. The work in the studio translates to the live shows...really.

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Poster: skuzzlebutt Date: Jun 25, 2009 5:06am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Best eras/years/ tours for harmonies live

I agree with Tell- another reason 1970 is my favorite year (Phil couldn't sing in 1970 either, but the others were doing so well most nights that they were able to sort of pull him along and keep him in an acceptable range).

Check out the "Attics" from 6/24/70- some of their best live vocal work ever.

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Poster: barongsong Date: Jun 25, 2009 7:42am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Best eras/years/ tours for harmonies live

Yep, for me GD vocal harmony = 70. There is some great stuff from other years but they never had the precision plus vocal strength as they did in 70.
Although check out this http://www.archive.org/details/gd91-09-26.sbd.fishman.21242.sbeok.shnf {91 harmonies huh?} Attics and WBYGN where I think they do a really excellent job harmonizing their creaky old voices which is a pretty applaud able feat. Jerry actually sounds about 10 years younger on this.

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Poster: K-Wave Date: Jun 25, 2009 10:27am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: National Anthem--Jer, Bob and Vince '93

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9OrGhedsrg

The unison at the outset of Attics and the gradual divergence into harmony reminded me of this gem. Call me a sap for these guys, but this always gets me.

There used to be a broadcast version up. The old sbd vs aud thing prevails once again....but what we really need is a matrix, huh?

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Poster: barongsong Date: Jun 25, 2009 7:02pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: National Anthem--Jer, Bob and Vince '93

Yea it's hard to hear clearly in that copy but it does sound like they nail it when you can hear it. Vocal harmonies was the one thing I think Vince improved with the band in retrospect.

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Poster: elbow1126 Date: Jun 24, 2009 7:30pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Best eras/years/ tours for harmonies live

i agree as long as we are not counting the tunes with marmaduke and nelson, thats cheatin'

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Poster: fenario80 Date: Jun 24, 2009 3:05pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Best eras/years/ tours for harmonies live

To answer your question, though, look to Spring tours where they were fresh out of the studio. That's where you will find the best live singing. 1971, 1977, and 1979 are a few that spring to my mind.

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Poster: fenario80 Date: Jun 24, 2009 3:02pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Best eras/years/ tours for harmonies live

Ask twelve Heads and you'll get ten different answers (plus two "who the fuck is Brent?"s), but I think he started overpowering the harmonies around 1983-84, before that he was more in the background and supporting.

He did really nice vocal work in 1979-82. My feeling is that the more comfortable he became, the less I liked it. In fact, here's a favorite Brent show, where for some reason he had no microphone:

http://www.archive.org/details/gd1982-09-17.mtx.haugh.82208.sbefail.flac16

This post was modified by fenario80 on 2009-06-24 22:02:52

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Poster: Styrofoam Cueball Date: Jun 24, 2009 3:59pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Best eras/years/ tours for harmonies live

I think 1976 is the best year for live singing; by '77, they don't seem to be trying as hard, and a lot of '78 sounds out of tune to me.

I'll also 2nd Tell (as usual) about '70: all that work with Crosby on their singing paid off, even more so on the albums of that year. Compare that to the Wake Of The Flood material, which isn't as vocal-oriented (well, maybe HCS and WRS pt. 1...)

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